Four Things to Look for in a Communications Provider

By Andy Kissenberth, SVP Sales
It was Jim’s warm smile and personality that caught Tasha’s eye. After months of dating, Jim and Tasha want to get married.
As Jim enters a jewelry store in the mall he knows he must buy a modest engagement ring. Tasha expects it. The unit on geology he took during
8th grade science seems far away. In fairness, it was years ago. Jim must admit, he knows nothing about rings or jewelry.
In many ways, Jim’s dilemma is similar to that of the small or medium-size business owner seeking to upgrade their company’s communications system.
Like Jim, the business owner knows they need to buy something; in this case a replacement for the company’s old PBX telephone system. And like Jim, their knowledge base on modern communications systems is essentially empty.
Another thing Jim and our business owner share—they’re pretty sure they’ll end up paying too much.
While an engagement ring is an important purchase, a wedding band will replace it shortly. The same can’t be said of a new fiber-optic communication system. At least our business owner hopes not.
But what should you, the small or medium-size business owner, look for when choosing a communications company to provide that new system?
A Company That Put Your Needs First
During your interactions with potential communications providers, careful listening is essential.
That’s because nearly all top-end business providers deploy similar technology. The difference maker is the company’s culture and how it treats business customers. Listening for clues that indicate a company will work for you is paramount.
“Of course, the company will work for me, I’m the customer,” you might say. This is obvious, right? The fact is many companies, including communications providers, attempt to sell business customers their products. The expectation is that you, the customer, will adapt to their products and services.
You’d never buy a suit and hope it fits. Why should it be different with communications companies? It shouldn’t. Communications providers need to tailor their services to the particular needs of your business.
The Clues
What are some of the clues that a company has your business in mind? It’s relatively simple. First, do company representatives at all points of contact ask what your business’ needs are? When you answer do its representatives listen?
Do the representatives ask about your patterns of use? For example, are there certain times when your business relies on the phone and internet heavily? What about on the weekends? What features does your business need and when and how often are they used? A provider that intends to serve you will ask these questions so it doesn’t sell you more capability than you need.
There’s another reason it’s important to listen for clues. Because chances are good a communications company that asks about your needs will treat you well.
How the company treats you, the business customer, is critical since it’s almost inevitable something will go wrong and you’ll need the communications company to respond.
What Can Go Wrong?
Modern fiber-optic communications systems have fewer moving parts than traditional hybrid fiber coaxial, the pipe many older systems deploy. The rule of thumb is fewer moving parts mean fewer technical problems.
Unfortunately, there are things no company, no matter how good, can control. These include weather emergencies or accidents, such as a vehicle slamming into a fiber node.
When those things occur, you need a communications company whose culture puts business customers at the top of the priority list. Ask the prospective provider how long it takes to fix an issue. The answer should be hours, not days.
Ask about redundancy. When the landline phone system is out will calls be transferred to mobile numbers?
When the provider is answering these questions listen for clues that its representatives portray the company as one that understands a small business loses money every second its communications system is down. Does the provider sound like it will put itself into your shoes during an emergency?
The Install
Here, too, it is important to listen for clues when you inquire about the proposed installation. Does the representative of the potential company volunteer that you, the customer, will be receiving a phone call days after the install to check if there are any issues outstanding? Again, this likely is indicative of a provider that will serve you well and be a trusted advisor.
Keeping all these factors in mind will help you through the entire process of evaluating and selecting your solution through to determining who will give you the best customer support long after the sale. Summit Broadband provides a robust fiber-optic network and US-based support that can meet your current needs and grow with your business. Learn more about Summit Broadband’s Business Services today and let us be part of the conversation.

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